Everyone knows about the effects of negative stereotyping but what about the effects of positive stereotyping? What is positive stereotyping? All African-Americans are great athletes, all Asians are good at playing musical instruments, Hispanics are good at dancing etc…. while these may sound positive these stereotypes can be just as damaging as negative stereotypes.
Every person has their own gifts and talents and by using even these positive stereotypes for our children we are not allowing them to find their own potential. Explore what your child is interested in not what you think they will be interested in due to their heritage or race. Studies have shown that when we put these types of positive stereotypes on children they actually perform worse than if they are allowed to find their own path.
Pay attention when you go to parent teacher conferences to make sure that teachers aren’t labeling your child with positive stereotypes as well. Your child may be struggling but it is being overlooked because the teacher just assumes they are doing well due to a stereotype. These types of stereotypes aren’t considered bad by most people and research is just coming to light regarding how damaging these can be to children.
Take the power of stereotypes away by explaining them to your children. Discuss them make them see where they came from and give examples of people who may not fit into the stereotype. By dispelling the stereotypes we are allowing our children to break away from using these as well. The goal is to see the individual and not the stereotype.